Patricia Chica is an independent Canadian filmmaker taking three of her short films to the 2014 Cannes Film Market. Luckily for all of us, she has agreed to keep a  personal diary for MovieMaker, about how filmmakers like her can get the most out of their Cannes adventures. Patricia will be sharing her day-to-day experiences with us over the next week, so stay tuned for Day Two on Friday, May 16!

Day One: Be well-prepared.

This is my second year at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013, I attended with Richard Cardinal, the actor in my award-winning short “Ceramic Tango” which played at the 2013 Short Film Corner – the short film market at Cannes. That first trip was exploratory; we didn’t expect the festival to be so overwhelming! With all the different sections (the official Palme d’Or competition, Director’s Fortnight, International Critics’ Week, Un Certain Regard, Cinéfondation, Film market, Short Film Corner, and all the different pavilions’ cocktail parties), you could easily get lost just trying to figure out what to do, who to meet and which films to watch. There are so many activities happening at the festival simultaneously, all day and night long. If you could attending everything (which is close to impossible), you wouldn’t sleep for 12 days straight. It can easily take two to three days to get your bearings at the Palais des Festivals (the convention center) and its adjacent International Village, where the different countries’ pavilions are located along the beach.

My advice for first timers is to prepare the trip at least one month in advance. Set three major goals you’d like to achieve during the festival in order to stay focused and get results. I personally like to have a good idea of my itinerary by requesting meetings with decision-makers, buyers and potential co-production partners several weeks in advance.

Information on market delegates is available by surfing the private sections (password protected) of the official festival site ( and by visiting the Cinando website. Cinando is THE essential networking hub for film professionals, all year round, and a great reference site about the business of film and distribution. Once you pay for your registration at the festival, you automatically get access to this indispensable resource.

My three personal goals for this year are the following:

1) Sell my short films (“Ceramic Tango,” “Let it Out!” and “Serpent’s Lullaby”)
2) Get international media coverage for my films.
3) Meet key players to trigger financing for my upcoming feature film projects.

With three clear goals in mind, it is easy to stay focused, prioritize and achieve results. It’s important for me to create my own circumstances by being in the right place at the right time at any given moment. Time is money for people in Cannes and meetings are no longer than 15 minutes. It’s imperative to be flexible and available throughout the day. At Cannes, my iPhone is like my right arm, so having a charger with me is so important. Based on my experience at the film market last year, I decided to be more efficient by investing in an extra portable battery.

I believe that there are as many Cannes’ festival experiences as there are participants attending this international film celebration. Tomorrow, I will share some tips and tricks about how to make the most of your Short Film Corner participation. Stay tuned! I have to get ready now for a lovely soirée on the Croisette! À demain!

Watch Patricia Chica’s  exclusive Cannes MovieMaker video blog:

Photo & video courtesy of Badazz Films.

To know more about award-winning filmmaker Patricia Chica, follow her on social media in real time (or almost) at PatriciaChica.comFacebook, and Twitter. MM

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